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Special Issue "Old Pharmaceuticals with New Applications"

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Maria Emília de Sousa

1. Laboratório de Química Orgânica e Farmacêutica, Departamento de Ciências, Químicas, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Rua Jorge Viterbo Ferreira 228, 4050-313, Porto, Portugal
2. Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR/CIMAR), Universidade do Porto, Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, Avenida General Norton de Matos, S/N 4450-208 Matosinhos, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: medicinal chemistry; organic synthesis; heterocycles, P-glycoprotein; anticancer; anticoagulants; chiral drugs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The decline or leveling out of output of the R&D programs from pharmaceutical companies may have begun to turn a corner compared to the early years of the 21st century. Although one reason for this increase is immunopharmacology-based treatments, small molecules still play an important role. Medicinal chemistry approaches to find small molecule lead compounds with the desired pharmacological activity continue to use natural products, synthesis, and existing drugs as sources.

In recent years, we have experienced a surge of interest in drug repositioning. There is a trend in finding new uses for existing drugs, especially in diseases where there is an unmet clinical need such as neglected and orphan diseases. Another opportunity is developing novel applications using a combination of old drugs.

The most fruitful basis for the discovery of a new drug is to start with an old drug” goes a famous statement from Sir James Black, which has received many adherents this century, not only in finding new applications but also looking for the unexploited potential of old drugs as starting points for molecular modifications.

The journal Pharmaceuticals invites both reviews and original articles shedding light on the challenges and opportunities of using old pharmaceuticals in drug discovery. Topics include: drug repositioning, selective optimization of side effects, drug metabolites as sources of new drugs, old drug combinations, beyond pharmaceuticals applications. The collection of manuscripts will be published as a Special Issue of the journal.

Dr. Maria Emília de Sousa
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmaceuticals is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • drug repositioning
  • drug discovery
  • old drugs
  • sosa
  • drug metabolism
  • drug combinations

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle A Triphenylphosphonium-Functionalized Mitochondriotropic Nanocarrier for Efficient Co-Delivery of Doxorubicin and Chloroquine and Enhanced Antineoplastic Activity
Pharmaceuticals 2017, 10(4), 91; doi:10.3390/ph10040091
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 18 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
PDF Full-text (3537 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Drug delivery systems that target subcellular organelles and, in particular, mitochondria are considered to have great potential in treating disorders that are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, including cancer or neurodegenerative diseases. To this end, a novel hyperbranched mitochondriotropic nanocarrier was developed for the
[...] Read more.
Drug delivery systems that target subcellular organelles and, in particular, mitochondria are considered to have great potential in treating disorders that are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, including cancer or neurodegenerative diseases. To this end, a novel hyperbranched mitochondriotropic nanocarrier was developed for the efficient co-delivery of two different (both in chemical and pharmacological terms) bioactive compounds. The carrier is based on hyperbranched poly(ethyleneimine) functionalized with triphenylphosphonium groups that forms ~100 nm diameter nanoparticles in aqueous media and can encapsulate doxorubicin (DOX), a well-known anti-cancer drug, and chloroquine (CQ), a known chemosensitizer with arising potential in anticancer medication. The anticancer activity of this system against two aggressive DOX-resistant human prostate adenocarcinoma cell lines and in in vivo animal studies was assessed. The co-administration of encapsulated DOX and CQ leads to improved cell proliferation inhibition at extremely low DOX concentrations (0.25 μΜ). In vivo experiments against DU145 human prostate cancer cells grafted on immunodeficient mice resulted in tumor growth arrest during the three-week administration period and no pervasive side effects. The findings put forward the potential of such targeted low dose combination treatments as a therapeutic scheme with minimal adverse effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Pharmaceuticals with New Applications)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Fast tracking antimalarial drug discovery through drug repositioning
Article Type: Review
Authors: Niroshini Nirmalan
Affiliation: Environment and Life sciences, University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK

Title: New potential of the re-purposed drugs in solid cancers.
Article type: Review
Author: Patrycja Nowak-Sliwinska
Affiliation: School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Geneva

Title: A Novel Interaction Between the TLR7 and a Colchicine Derivative Revealed Through a Computational and Experimental Study
Article type: Article
Author: Francesco Gentile 1, Marco A. Deriu 2,3, Khaled H. Barakat 4, Andrea Danani 3 and Jack A. Tuszynski 1,5
1. Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
2. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
3. Istituto Dalle Molle di studi sull’Intelligenza Artificiale (IDSIA), Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana (SUPSI), Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), Manno, Switzerland
4. Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
5. Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Abstract: The Toll-Like Receptor 7 (TLR7) is an endosomal membrane receptor involved in the innate immune system response. Its best-known small molecule activators are imidazoquinoline derivatives such as Imiquimod and Resiquimod, and adenine analogues. A recent computational model for the dimeric form of the receptor was used to determine a possible interaction with a colchicine derivative, active as a tubulin polymerization inhibitor. The estimated values of the binding energy of this molecule with respect to the TLR7 receptor was comparable with the energies of known binders as reported in a previous study. The binding to the TLR7 was further assessed by introducing genetic transformations in the TLR7 gene in cancer cell lines and exposing them to the compound. A negative shift of the IC50 value in terms of cell growth was observed in cell lines carrying the mutated TLR7 gene. The reported study suggests a possible interaction between TLR7 and a colchicine derivative, which can be explored for rational design of new drugs acting on this receptor by using a colchicine scaffold for additional modifications.

Title: Targeting DNA repair with repurposed drugs in resistant cancers
Article Type: Opinion
Authors: Panagiotis J. Vlachostergios
Affiliation: Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA

Title: A triphenylphosphonium-functionalized mitochondriotropic nanocarrier for efficient co-delivery of doxorubicin and chloroquine and enhanced antineoplastic activity
Article type: Article
Author: Katerina N Panagiotaki; Zili Sideratou; Spiros A Vlahopoulos; Maria Paravatou-Petsotas; Michael Zachariadis; Nikolas Khoury; Vassilis Zoumpourlis; Dimitris Tsiourvas *
Affiliation: NCSR “Demokritos”, Institute of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, 15310 Aghia Paraskevi, Attiki, Greece

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